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EDITORIAL: When crime comes for Congress, it funds the police

Congress can’t solve the nation’s problems, but its members know what to do when the “defund the police” movement endangers their own personal safety.

Crime in Washington, D.C., has gotten so bad that the Committee on House Administration held a hearing on “Safety on Capitol Hill” last month. It heard a number of alarming statistics.

“Crime stats in the district closing out 2023 are absolutely staggering,” Greggory Pemberton, chairman of the D.C. Police Union, testified. “Homicides have reached 274, a 35 percent increase, carjackings reached 958, a 105 percent increase, robberies were up 67 percent, violent crime overall went up 39 percent, and all crimes went up 26 percent.”

Members of Congress and their employees aren’t immune to the violence that surrounds them. Last year, a man assaulted Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., in the elevator of her Washington apartment building. She escaped after throwing hot coffee on him. Armed assailants hijacked Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, last October.

Staffers aren’t as high-profile, but they’ve faced physical threats, too. Last June, two armed assailants attacked a staffer for Rep. Brad Finstad, R-Minn., after the congressional baseball game.

It isn’t hard to figure out what has caused the crime surge. The D.C. City Council, dominated by progressive radicals, has embraced the “defund the police” movement.

“Beginning in June of 2020, the D.C. Council began introducing anti-police legislation designed, in their own words, to ‘act accordingly to bend the arc of justice,’ ” Mr. Pemberton said. He continued, “The rhetoric that council members use when speaking publicly about law enforcement amounts to nothing short of virulent attacks on all police officers in the district.”

Some of this may be union posturing, but the facts are the facts. Unsurprisingly, the D.C. police force has lost more than 1,400 officers since 2020. It currently has more than 500 vacancies, which is projected to take a decade to fill. Mr. Pemberton called the council’s efforts an “abject failure.”

It’s worth noting how congressional Democrats react to dangerous “defund the police” policies when they affected them personally. They’ve beefed up their own police force.

In his testimony, Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger thanked Congress “for providing us with the necessary funding” to reimburse police agencies that help it protect members and staff. Capitol Police are also building a new command center to help keep members of Congress safe. Last year, the Democrat-run Senate even passed a Republican bill overriding a D.C.-passed bill reducing criminal penalties.

If only average citizens facing higher crime and neighborhood deterioration from “defund the police” stupidity had these options.

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